Туристический маршрут по Кордове в христианскую эпоху проведет вас по памятникам Кордовы, появившимися после реконкисты региона христианами. Знаменитый кордовский Алькасар — крепость христианских королей, а также уникальное в мире явление — Кафедральный собор посреди мусульманской мечети — главные достопримечательности Кордовы по маршруту.
Описание маршрута на английском языке. Карта прилагается по соответствующим участкам в описании маршрута.
- Христианство в Кордове
- Маршрут Христианская Кордова
- 1. Alcázar Viejo district
- 2. Caballerizas Reales
- 3. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
- 4. Palacio Episcopal y Seminario de San Pelagio
- 5. Hospital de San Sebastián. Palacio de Congresos
- 6. Mezquita
- 7. Virgen de los Faroles
- 8. Triumphal Statue of St. Raphael / Triunfo de San Rafael
- 9. Torre de la Calahorra
- 10. Museo Arqueológico
- 11. Capilla de San Bartolomé
- 12. Convento de Santa Clara
- 13. Iglesia de San Francisco y San Eulogio
- 14. Plaza de la Corredera
- 15. Iglesia del Juramento
- 16. Iglesia de San Pedro
- 17. Casa de los Aguayo
- 18. Iglesia de Santiago
- 19. Ermita de los Santos Mártires
- 20. El Santuario de la Fuensanta
- 21. Iglesia de La Magdalena
- 22. Iglesia de San Lorenzo
- 23. Iglesia de San Agustín
- 24. Iglesia de San Andrés
- 25. Iglesia de San Pablo
- 26. Santa Marina de Aguas Santas
- 27. San Cayetano
- 28. El Cristo de los Faroles. La plaza de Capuchinos
- 29. Iglesia de Los Dolores
- 30. Iglesia de San Miguel
- 31. Iglesia de San Nicolás de la Villa
- 32. Oratorio de San Felipe Neri
- 33. Iglesia de la Trinidad
- 34. Colegiata de San Hipólito
- 35. Torre de La Malmuerta
- 36. Convento de la Merced
- 37. Ermita del Pretorio
- 38. Cercadilla
- 39. Monasterio de San Jerónimo de Valparaíso
- 40. Las Ermitas
- Страстная неделя
- Паломничество и популярные традиции
- Гастрономия: христианские блюда
- Христианские деятели
CHRISTIANITY IN CORDOBA
The history of Christian Cordoba is the tale of a city that has evolved around the Christian tradition and has assumed its religious duties and customs in a perfectly natural way. Christianity is a way of life which, right
up to the present day, has affected the people of Cordoba profoundly and it is still a city where religion, more than just a personal choice, is a cultural and social reality.
In fact, Christian beliefs have evolved with the city over the years, from the time of the Roman Empire, when Christianity spread rapidly, up to the Visigothic period, and in Al-Andalus. However, it is from 1236 onwards, after the conquest of the city by the Castilian King Fernando III The Saint, when we can really speak of the Christian Cordoba which has lasted until recent times.
CHRISTIANITY UNDER ROMAN AND VISIGOTH RULE
According to legend, the origins of Christianity in Spain can be traced back almost two thousand years to the evangelization of the Iberian Peninsula in the 1st Century AD by the apostle James (Santiago) the Greater and St. Paul. Corduba was founded by the Roman general Claudio Marcelo between 169 and 152 BC. The newly founded city was, from the very start, the provincial capital of Hispania Ulterior Baetica. However, the spread of Christianity in Cordoba coincided with the shift of the Roman capital to Hispalis (modernday Seville) under the reign of Diocletian (284-305 BC), as evidenced by the early Christian sarcophagi which are now on display in the Castle of the Christian Monarchs and in the Archaeological Museum.
If any one personality stands out from that early Christian period, it is Bishop Osio, born in Cordoba in the mid 3rd century, whose influence was such that the most senior position in the diocese is still known as Osio’s seat.
After Christianity had been imposed as the official religion in the final century of the Roman Empire, it suffered the trials and tribulations of the period which began with the segregation between Arianism, brought by the Germanic invaders, and the Catholicism of the Hispano-Romans. The issue was finally settled by the conversion of Recaredo in 586.
During the 6th century, several churches were built, such as the one which now lies below Santa Clara convent; the Church of Three Saints (St. Faustus, St. Gerard and St. Martial), which is located under the modern Church of San Pedro; and St. Vincent the Martyr, which stood on the site where the Great Mosque of Cordoba would later be built.
CHRISTIANS IN AL-ANDALUS
Calculating the population of Al-Andalus during the period of greatest expansion of Islamic rule (10th century) is a very difficult task, but most estimates give a figure of around 10 million. From the religious point of view, the population was made up of either Muslims or dhimmi (Christians and Jews). Arabs, Berbers and Muladi formed the ruling class and Christians and Jews were among the subjects.
Christian Hispano-Goths living in al-Andalus who had converted to Islam were known as Muladi, and those who kept the Christian religion were termed Mozarabs. However, Islam spread rapidly and both these groups soon adopted the customs and ways of Muslim life. The Mozarabs and Jews enjoyed freedom of worship, had their own authorities, enjoyed freedom of movement and could be judged according to their own
laws; in exchange, they were required to pay taxes and were subject to certain limitations. This climate of tolerance favoured the development of Christian communities with a certain degree of internal autonomy in Toledo, Merida and, above all, in Cordoba.
In the mid 9th century, things went from one extreme to the other, as an extraordinary wave of radical fervour hit the Christian community in Cordoba and its surroundings: priests and laymen, men and women alike
began to immolate themselves, publicly insulting Islam and offending the name of Mohammed. The penalty stipulated for such a crime was death, but it seems that the authorities gave the offenders a chance to recant before ordering their execution. The first documented case was that of St. Perfectus in 850, followed by others — numbering about fifty — such as St. Eulogius of Cordoba, who was executed in 859, and St. Paul Alvaro.
In the 10th century Caliphate of Cordoba, some Jews — as is the case of Hasday Ibn Shaprut, advisor and personal physician to Abd al-Rahman III — and Christians acted as advisors and viziers. Many of them participated in public life and owned property.
One interesting example is Recemundus (Rabi ibn Zayd), a Christian Mozarab employed as a translator at the court of Abd al-Rahman III, who went on to become Bishop of Elvira (Granada) and one of the Caliph’s inner
circle of advisors. In the late 11th century, things began to change with the arrival in al-Andalus of the Almoravids and the Almohads, who held a more radical vision of Islam and understood that the faith of Mohammed should be spread by means of force which was one of the key factors which favoured the Christian advance.
THE CHRISTIAN CONQUEST
The gradual weakening of the Caliphate and the appearance of the Taifa Kingdoms led to the fall of Cordoba in June 1236 at the hands of troops of the Christian king Ferdinand III of Castile, who was known as The Saint
for the important role he played in the Christian Conquest (Reconquista). According to Christian sources, at the time of the conquest, the city was in total decadence.
This event marked the beginning of a process of restoration and change in the city. In a process involving military, religious and economic forces, the new, Christian development of the city took place in two areas of the city that up until then had remained practically deserted, mainly for purely defensive reasons: the Axerquía, running parallel to the eastern stretch of the city wall, and the area of the Alcázar Viejo (also known as District of San Basilio).
Similarly, other areas of the city which had previously been used as gardens or yards started to be developed. Cordoba was organized into 14 parishes, to which one (San Bartolome) was later added, each presided over by the parish church that gave it its name (in many cases, built overa former mosque). The churches surviving to this day are La Magdalena, San Lorenzo, San Pablo de Cordoba, San Pedro de Alcántara, San Francisco and San Eulogio de la Axerquía, Santiago, San Andrés, San Nicolás de la Villa, San Miguel, San Agustín and the chapel of San Bartolome. They are all known nowadays as Fernandine Churches and can be visited following a specially planned route.
Just like in other cities conquered by the Catholic king, following the entry of the Christian troops, Cordoba was emptied of its Muslim population and reoccupied by settlers from Castile and Leon, who received the redistributed land. The nobles stood out among these new settlers — generally second-generation hidalgos (gentlemen) — and in return for defending the vulnerable border with the neighbouring Nazari kingdom of Granada, accumulated wealth and power and held the first manors granted by Ferdinand III.
After the initial optimism of the 13th century conquests, with its small-scale participation in the redistributed land, during most of the Middle Ages, Cordoba was reduced to a small town, subjected to immense suffering caused by epidemics, famine, rising prices and hunger. The first of these major crises was the first wave of the Black Death in 1349, followed by another in the years 1363-64. These were years of widespread death and great shortages.
In contrast to its previous centuries of splendour, late medieval Cordoba lost its historical prominence and was often the scene of internal struggles that the nobles waged to support warring dynastic factions and to defend or expand their privileges.
THE CATHOLIC MONARCHS
In the 15th century, with the arrival of the Catholic Monarchs in Cordoba to make determined moves in the war with the Kingdom of Granada, the city was used as the troops’ headquarters and regained some of its former splendour. The discovery of America in 1492 was planned during a stay in Cordoba of the Catholic Monarchs — Christopher Columbus began the negotiations here with the monarchs.
Although initially the project of travelling to India via the west — a new route across the Atlantic — was considered impractical, the Monarchs finally agreed to fund the expedition. The subsequent annexation of the overseas territories led to an era of enormous power and wealth and the creation of the Spanish Empire, where, to use a term coined by Philip II, «the sun never set».
However, at this time, Cordoba lost much of its commercial, industrial and agricultural importance, and many of its inhabitants emigrated to America or nearby Seville, where many of the larger businesses had moved to.
THE COUNTER-REFORMATION AND THE BAROQUE
To fight against the Protestant Reformation initiated by Luther, the Catholic Church reacted with the Counter-Reformation, a powerful response in which they reinforced the doctrine, and created new religious orders.
Cordoba’s urban landscape still retains many traces of the 18th century, particularly in the religious buildings that were built at that time. The Royal Stables were also built then (and rebuilt in 1734 after a fire), as were the Plaza de los Capuchinos, the many triumphal columns dedicated to San Rafael and noble palaces such as that of the Viscount of Miranda.
In addition, many festive celebrations grew up around Catholicism. The Catholic faith was celebrated in the commemoration of the Passion of Christ, which grew into the stunning religious and aesthetic spectacle of Holy Week.
THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERIES
Dissolution was the main political weapon with which the Liberals could change the property laws of the Ancien Regime in order to herald the arrival of a new bourgeois state in the early 19th century. The best known episode of the Dissolutions was that which Liberal Minister Juan Alvarez Mendizabal, minister to the regent Maria Cristina de Borbon, carried out in 1836, and which was later known as the Dissolution of Mendizabal.
All land and non-productive assets held by the Catholic Church or religious orders, as well as land belonging to the nobility, which they had accumulated from regular grants and wills, were sold by public auction to private citizens. The aim was to increase the national wealth and create a bourgeoisie and a middle class of worker-owners. However, despite the ambitious scope of these measures, the results were relatively poor, since the church property ended up in the hands of the nobles and the wealthy bourgeoisie.
THE CIVIL WAR
During the Second Republic, the polarization of Spanish politics, which had begun in the late 19th century, reached its zenith. It was then that two different visions of Spain were formed, and this clash of anticlericalism with fundamentalist Catholicism was one of the factors that led to Civil War in 1936.
FROM FRANCO’S RULE TO DEMOCRACY
In Cordoba, the arrival of Bishop Friar Albino González Menéndez-Reigada (1946) and the Mayor, Antonio Cruz Conde y Conde (1951), marked the beginning of what has been termed the «golden decade» (1951-1961). These were years when the city started to recover from its age-old backwardness. In only a few years. Cordoba took a substantial leap forward.
In the 60’s, the core of the Christian communities began to openly support the opposition to Franco. With the support of progressive Catholic groups, a large part of the working class was actively involved in political movements, creating a popular network of resistance and opposition to the dictatorship. These developments provide fertile ground for the founding in Cordoba of the Juan XXIII Cultural Circle in 1962, which consisted mainly of Christians committed to the society of the time, and whose activities consisted of holding conferences and debates on politics and religion (it is still open to this day).
These organizations played a crucial role during the Transition period and were instrumental in supporting or encouraging the creation of political parties, both on the left wing (PC, PSOE) as well as in the centre
(Christian Democrats, UCD). Against this background, there emerged the figure or movement of the Worker Priests, who refused to collect their salaries as priests and worked for a living.
In Cordoba, the leading exponent of this movement, which started in France in 1944 and spread to Spain in 1964, was Juan Perea, parish priest of the Church of San Martín de Porres in the Sector Sur district.
This move coincided with the emergence in Latin America of Liberation Theology, which came into conflict with the political and economic powers of the day, as well as with the Vatican itself.
With the advent of democracy, the Constitution of 1978 defined Spain as a non-religious state and the Catholic Church as an institution with which the state should have a special relationship, especially regarding
educational matters. But what may be seen as the most striking change since the latter stages of Franco’s rule has been the secularization of Spanish society. Economic advances, emigration from the
country to the city or to other European countries, the influence of tourism and the opening up of Spain to the outside world have all been factors that have influenced a growing liberalization of customs.
Маршрут Христианская Кордова
1. The Alcázar Viejo district
The Alcázar Viejo district, known popularly as Barrio de San Basilio, dates back to the first years after the city’s conquest by the troops of Fernando III The Saint. After he took control of the city, the king divided Cordoba into two main walled areas, the Medina area in the higher part of town and the Axerquía area beside the river. As part of the city’s expansion, in the late Middle Ages, to the west and southwest, the walled city of Cordoba, which had been built during the Almoravid period reusing some of the early Roman walls, was extended in the 14th century to the west, to form an area which was first called the Castillo de la Judería (Castle of the Jewish Quarter) and later, the new district of the Alcázar Viejo. In 1399, this large area, as yet undeveloped, was used to settle crossbow archers and their families, who enjoyed special privileges in exchange for helping to defend the nearby Castle of the Christian Monarchs. The new district had an improved urban design and each house had its own courtyard, and its most striking feature was the Tower of Bethlehem, originally part of the defensive wall, which later became a shrine with the same name.
2. The Royal Stables
Cordoba’s connection with horses goes back to the 16th century. In 1570, Philip II founded the Royal Stables in Cordoba in the former grounds of the Castle of the Christian Monarchs, where he created the purebred Spanish horse. By making various crosses, the Royal Stables produced the purebred Spanish horse, also called the Andalusian horse, which was of Arab descent and especially valued for riding.
In 1929 the Royal Stables was declared a National Artistic Monument. Its main features are the main stables, with vaulted ceilings supported by sandstone columns which serve to mark the individual pens, known as
boxes, or the arena, with its metal framework and skylights attributed to the workshop of Gustave Eiffel. The facilities of the Royal Stables belong nowadays to the Town Hall. However, after 1866 the Spanish army was responsible for keeping up the tradition of horse breeding, and under the control of the Ministry of Defence, it was used as a stud farm until 1995.
The Town Hall is preparing a special plan to link the building once again with the Castle of the Christian Monarchs by redesigning the huge garden, with a total area of 100,000 square metres, and restoring some of the stunning historic buildings which are now protected by urban planning and heritage laws.
3. Castle of the Christian Monarchs / Alcazar
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is a military building, built by King Alfonso XI in the year 1328 over the remains of earlier buildings – since Roman times, a walled area with different buildings in the middle (fortorium) had stood here. Behind the sombre façade of the Castle, or Alcázar, lie Mudéjar-style gardens and courtyards, and the whole area is a shaped like a fortress with the building and gardens inside. It forms almost a perfect square, with a tower on each corner, one of which, the Tower of the Dove, was demolished in the mid 19th century. The Tower of the Lions is at the entrance, which then leads upwards to the Keep and the Tower of the Inquisition. The main gallery leads to the Hall of the Mosaics, whose walls are adorned with Roman mosaics found in the Plaza de la Corredera in 1959. The room also features a 3rd century sarcophagus found in 1958 in the Huerta de San Rafael.
This room then leads on to the Royal Baths and the Mudéjar (Moorish) Courtyard, with arches all around and several water features, and then to the gardens, the former Alcázar Orchard, an impressive garden measuring 55,000 square metres planted with palm trees, cypresses and orange and lemon trees around refreshing fountains and pools. In ancient times, the water for these gardens was brought up by the Albolafia watermill, but this was dismantled during the stay of the Catholic Monarchs in the Palace, when Queen Isabel of Castile complained that the noise disturbed her rest.
After the capture of the city, Fernando III The Saint marked off the southwest corner of the Andalusi (Arabic) castle as the site of a future royal residence, but it was not until the reign of Alfonso XI The Justice Giver that the building was extended and took on the appearance of the castle which we recognise today. From 1482, it was used as military headquarters of the Catholic Monarchs, who had moved their court to Cordoba and, from here, planned their strategy for the conquest of the Kingdom of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Spain. In fact, there is a story that Moorish king of Granada, Boabdil was kept prisoner here.
In one of the halls, Queen Isabel La Católica passed the Law of Idle Women, which confiscated the inheritances of all Cordoban women. The story goes that the queen passed the law after observing the large crowd of women who gathered each day outside the Castle of the Christian Monarchs, hoping to catch a glimpse of the queen in one of the windows. The queen, tired of the constant comings and goings at the Alcázar gates, asked what these women did for a living and whether they helped their husbands to support the household. The Cordoban women’s reply was that they certainly didn’t – it was their husbands’ job to see to that.
Isabel La Católica was beside herself with rage on hearing the reply and retorted: «If they don’t help to earn money, they should not enjoy it», ordering that every married woman in Cordoba should be deprived of their right to inherit matrimonial property on the death of their husbands. As a result, for many years after this, Cordoban women used to travel to the nearby town of Alcolea (which is now part of the Cordoba suburbs) to get married, until the law was abolished by King Carlos IV in 1801. Following the departure of the Catholic Monarchs, the building became property of the Tribunal of the Inquisition, which was based there until its abolition in 1834. Major reforms took place then to build dungeons and cells, and many of the original palace features were destroyed.
After the abolition of the Inquisition, it became a state prison until the year 1931, when it was used as a military base. During the Civil War, it was used as a prison and site of executions, and, since 1955, it has belonged to Cordoba Town Hall and its municipal network of museums.
4. Episcopal Palace and Seminary of San Pelagio (St. Pelagius)
The Episcopal Palace and the Seminary of St. Pelagius are situated in Calle Torrijos, both built on the site of an old Andalusi (Arabic) Castle, the headquarters of the Emirs and Caliphs of al-Andalus from the arrival of
Muslims in the 8th century up to the Christian conquest of the city. All that remains of the old castle is the Arabic Baths in the Plaza del Campo Santo de los Mártires, and part of the wall that went round the perimeter, whose towers are still visible in the Renaissance facade.
In the mid nineteen-eighties, part of this complex was turned into the Diocesan Museum, which houses much of the Church of Cordoba’s artistic heritage, with a collection including paintings, tapestries and sculptures dating from the Middle Ages to modern times.
Obispado de Córdoba, Calle Torrijos, 12, 14003 Córdoba, Spain
5. St. Sebastian Hospital. Congress Palace
The current site of the Congress Palace in Calle Torrijos was built in 1512 as the St. Sebastian Hospital, by the architect Hernán Ruiz the Elder at the request of the Brotherhood of St. Sebastian. They needed a new site to carry out their work treating mental patients and infectious illnesses, to which they added, in the 19th century, the role of a hospice for abandoned children — hence the name House of the Foundlings or House of the Cradle. The wealthy Juan Fernández de Córdoba sponsored the new hospital project, with the encouragement of St. John of Avila.
In 1880, it passed into the hands of the Provincial Government, but continued as a maternity hospital until 1960, when it was closed for two decades. The building retains some of its original structure but the decoration has a mix of Gothic, Moorish and even Italian Renaissance styles. The most striking feature is the entrance, despite the deteriorated state of the stone work.
Calle Torrijos, 10, 14003 Córdoba, Spain
6. Mosque-Cathedral, formerly Basilica of San Vicente Mártir
(St. Vincent the Martyr)
The ancient Mosque of Cordoba, which was converted in the 13th century into the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Cordoba, is not only the most important Islamic monument in the Western world but also one of the most impressive monuments in the whole world, It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 2nd November 1984, and its history traces the complete evolution of the Umayyad style in Spain, as well as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of the Christian era.
The building, as we know it today, rests on 850 columns joined by 365 double level arches, and is the result of at least five major building works, including the Christian ones, which transformed what had formerly been the main religious centre and place of public worship for the whole of al-Andalus into a Catholic church.
Under Visigothic rule, the Basilica of the Martyr St. Vincent had stood built on this very same site, and the Aljama (Great) Mosque of Cordoba was later built over it. For a while, the basilica was shared by Christians and Muslims, but when the Muslim population grew, the church was demolished by the first Emir of the Emirate of Cordoba, Abd al-Rahman I, in order to construct, from the year 785 onwards, the main mosque for the city and the whole of al-Andalus. Some remains of the primitive Basilica of the Martyr St. Vincent were excavated in the first half of 20th century and have recently been included as a feature of the current Mosque-Cathedral.
The Great Mosque has two distinct areas, the courtyard or sahn with a portico, where the minaret was built, and the prayer room, or haram. The interior is arranged like a forest of bi-coloured columns and arches with an impressive chromatic effect. However, to understand the Mosque as it has reached us today, we need to know what happened when the city was taken over by the Castilian troops in 1236. At first, it was used as a place of worship with little alteration. Later, partial reforms were carried out with the addition of chapels and other Christian elements. The areas especially affected were the extensions ordered by the Caliph Abd al-Rahman II and by Almanzor.
The Catholic Monarchs allowed the construction of a Main Chapel and in 1489 opened the first Gothic nave. In 1523, the Cordoba chapter, who had recently acquired ownership of the Mosque, ordered the construction of the Cathedral. It was then that the most significant and controversial changes took place, when the central part of the old prayer hall was converted into a Christian cathedral in Renaissance style. To achieve this, 63 columns were removed in order to build a cathedral in the exact middle, under the central dome of the skylight at the beginning of Al-Hakam II’s extension. It is said that when Emperor Charles V, who had given permission for the building, visited Cordoba, he looked worried and declared:
«If I had known what was here, I would never have dared touch the old building. You have destroyed what was unique in the world to build something you can find everywhere.”
The building and decoration of the new Cathedral of Santa Maria de Cordoba, begun under the watchful eye of Hernán Ruiz the Elder, was to last for three centuries. The result was a building with a range of styles from
Gothic, Plateresque and Renaissance to Baroque. It has a nave and a transept, in the shape of a Latin cross. The arches are Gothic (pointed), the decoration Plateresque and the dome, in Renaissance style. The most notable features are the red marble altar, the Main Altarpiece, the Choir-stalls with their dome above inspired by the Sistine Chapel, and the Cathedral Treasury, which features the Corpus Christi monstrance, by the goldsmith Enrique de Arfe.
Most of the Andalusi (Andalusian-Arabic) minaret is preserved, embedded within the existing tower. It was built by Abd al-Rahman III and had remained unchanged until the Renaissance, when the belfry was added. Later, problems of instability forced them to gird the Arab minaret in a more robust construction in the mid-17th century. In 1664, the tower was crowned with a statue of San Rafael.
The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament deserved special mention, situated on the southeastern side of the Mosque-Cathedral, decorated with stylish frescoes, in the place previously occupied the Chapter Library. The initiative to build this chapel came from Bishop Friar Martin de Cordoba y Mendoza, who ordered Hernán Ruiz III to build it in 1578. The work was completed during the pontificate of his successor. All the walls, including the fronts and sides, are decorated with oil paintings, and there is an early example of spiral (Salomonic) columns, more typical of the following period, the Baroque.
Since 2010, it has been possible to enjoy a night-time visit to the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, under the title El Alma de Córdoba (The Soul of Cordoba), featuring state-ofthe- art lighting, sound and projections to display the ancient building in all its grandeur.
The route, which lasts one hour, starts at the Orange-Tree Courtyard with an audiovisual presentation that covers the whole history of the monument and the city, then enters the church and starts on a tour of its main features accompanied by sound and lights, which are incorporated gradually as the visit goes on. The descriptions and explanations of the route are heard by visitors through an audio guide system in eight languages.
7. Our Lady of the Lanterns
Our Lady of the Lanterns is a work by Julio Romero de Torres painted in 1928 for the Town Hall. It is situated outside the north wall of the Orange-Tree Courtyard. Its name is derived from the lamps that illuminate it, and there is also an outer fence which serves as both decoration and protection. Today the painting on display is a copy, as the original was transferred to the Julio Romero de Torres Museum.
8. Triumphal Statue of St. Raphael (Roman Bridge)
The Triumphal Statues of St. Raphael are a testimony to popular devotion, as they were erected in years of hardship to ask for the saint’s mercy. The first triumphal statue to be erected in the city is located half way along the Roman Bridge. It is by Barnabas Gomez del Río, and was placed there in 1651 as thanksgiving for the end of the outbreak of plague that had devastated the city in the previous years.
Next to the Gateway to the Bridge is the most attractive statue of all. It was sculpted in the 18th century, and was completed by architect Miguel de Verdiguier. The ethereal column that supports the Archangel stands on
a tower whose lower walls are sunk into a grotto. These are symbols of the underworld, the earthly and the divine. Other triumphal statues are located in Puerta Nueva, Plaza de San Basilio or Plaza del Potro.
Raphael, which literally means “medicine of God”, is one of the most popular names in Cordoba, and many Cordoban men (Rafael) and women (Rafaela) are named after him, as a sign of the gratitude that people feel for this Archangel, who is the custodian, but not the patron saint, of the city.
9. The Calahorra Tower
The fortress situated at the end of the bridge is known as the Calahorra Tower, and, like no other, this historic building encapsulates the city’s medieval history and all the episodes of war it has lived through.
Experts believe that there were originally two towers, and at the time of Henry II of Trastámara these were joined by a third, thus forming a plan in the shape of a cross with three wings. The building we know nowadays is the result of 14th century reforms which added new defensive features, such as cross and orb shaped sockets, designed to hold gunpowder-based artillery.
Finally, the barrier or low wall surrounding the Calahorra dates back to the 16th century, as confirmed in a document from 1514. The interior consists of 14 rooms divided into three floors with a terrace. After losing its defensive role, the fort had a wide range of uses: in the 19th century it was a prison for the nobility, a military quarters and a Girls School; since the mid 20th, it has been used as a Civil Guards’ Barracks and as a City Museum. It now houses the Museum of the Three Cultures.
10. Archaeological Museum of Cordoba
The museum is situated in the Plaza Jeronimo Páez, in a Renaissance palace that formerly belonged to the Páez de Castillejo family. It is one of the leading archaeological museums in Spain, on a par with that
The exhibition space consists of six rooms and three courtyards, on the ground floor, where the prehistoric, proto-historic, Hispano-Roman and Hispano-Visigothic collections are displayed, as well as two more rooms in an upstairs gallery where the medieval collections are kept.
The museum takes you through the history of Christian Córdoba from the domestic, public, administrative and commercial angle. The museum contains stone sarcophagi showing Christian motifs that were found in different parts of the city, of which the most striking is the Sarcophagus of the Columns, an extensively decorated sarcophagus from the time of Constantine, which was found in the 60s in the Huerta de San Rafael and is now on display in the Provincial Archaeological Museum. There is also the Evangelists’ Capital, and the sarcophagus fragment portraying Daniel in the Lions’ Den, which narrates the well-known biblical scene.
After an international competition was launched in 1998 looking for ideas for a new building to extend the museum, an annex, measuring 4,000 m², was built which will now host a range of services, as well as the exhibition Cordoba: the Meeting of Cultures.
11. The Chapel of San Bartolomé (St. Bartholomew)
The Chapel of San Bartolomé, integrated into the current Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Cordoba, was built around 1410 as a focal point of the new diocese set up between the Alcázar Viejo district and the Jewish Quarter. The chapel, possibly built over a former Jewish synagogue, was a parish church until the 17th century, and despite all the transformations it has undergone since it was built, is still a shining example of the Gothic-Mudéjar style.
The building consists of a rectangular nave with crossed vaulting that still retains its original tiled plinth and plasterwork. There is also a courtyard, parallel to the nave, whose façade looks out onto the street. This façade
features an ogival Gothic arch and a portico with three arches. It has recently been restored and can be visited by the public.
12. Convent of Santa Clara (St. Clare), and other monasteries
The present convent of Santa Clara or former church of Santa Catalina in calle Rey Heredia was built around 976 over an earlier mosque and still conserves part of the original minaret, built into the convent tower and a part of the courtyard walls, as well as an access door that is remarkable for its lintel with voussoirs forming part of a blind horseshoe arch in calle Osio. It was one of the typical monasteries built in Cordoba just after the Christian conquest, like those of Santa Isabel de los Angeles, San Augustín, the Holy Trinity, the convent of Santa Maria de Gracia or the Regina Coeli or Santa Marta convent.
Calle Osio, 1-3, 14003 Córdoba, Spain
13. Church of San Francisco and San Eulogio (St. Francis and St. Eulogius)
The church of San Francisco and San Eulogio belonged to the Franciscan convent of San Pedro el Real, which had been founded in the 13th century and disappeared in the 19th century after the dissolution of the monasteries. The church underwent major reforms in the 18th century which changed its medieval appearance into Baroque. Inside, it is richly decorated with plasterwork, which gives the impression of greater dynamism. There are several altars, such as those entitled the Birth, St. Joseph or St. Eloy, and six chapels scattered round the church. Another element that stands out in the decoration is the impressive collection of paintings by 18th century Cordoban artists, such as the St.Andrew by Juan de Valdes Leal.
What is most striking about the church’s exterior is its cloisters, made up of two levels of arcades, with two upper arches for every one on the ground floor. The arches are semicircular and supported by columns with Tuscan capitals, whose austerity contrasts with the interior of the church. The existence of a courtyard – a space in front of the church, which has recently been restored — is also a reminder of its former role as a convent.
14. Plaza de la Corredera
This spacious plaza with porticos is the only example of a Castilian plaza in Andalusia and is in the same style as the plaza mayor (main square) of Madrid and Salamanca. It was built along the lines of late 17th century Baroque urban planning over a large expanse of land outside the walls of the Medina.
This space was originally planned as a venue for the great public events of the day: bullfights (from which its name is derived), games with reeds, military victories, autos de fé (public confessions) and even executions.
This area owes its current appearance to the work undertaken in 1687 by mayor Francisco Ronquillo Briceño Baroque and modelled on the Castilian town squares. All that survived of the earlier square was the House of Lady Ana Jacinto Angulo, a strongwilled noblewoman who refused to sell her house, so that this 16th building now stands out as a feature of the plaza.
Just next to the Plaza de la Corredera stands the Ermita del Socorro (Hermitage of Help), which was originally located within the plaza. When Ronquillo Briceño ordered the renovation of the plaza, the chapel was expropriated in exchange for transferring the land it now occupies. It has fallen into disrepair and has been closed since 2007, and both the image of the Virgin del Socorro, as well as that of St. Raphael, are kept in the neighbouring parish of San Pedro.
What is nowadays the Sánchez Peña Market was formerly the governor’s house and a jail, until the 19th century, when, in 1846, the Cordoban businessman José Sánchez Peña bought the building and installed the most technologically advanced industry in the Cordoba of his day: a hat factory using steam engines. In the late 20th century, it was converted into a food market and it also houses other municipal offices.
Between the years 1896 and 1959, the square was literally taken over by the food market, but the construction of a new market, this time underground, led to the discovery of a Roman house with beautiful mosaics, currently on display in the Castle of the Christian Monarchs and the Archaeological Museum of Cordoba. Nowadays the Corredera is one of the most popular places in the city, where Cordobans gather to sit in the sun, meet friends and enjoy many cultural events, like the Medieval Market, which is held in late January.
15. The Church of the Juramento (the Oath)
It was in 1578 when St. Raphael appeared to Father Roelas several times, and on the last occasion, the archangel swore an oath: «I swear by the crucified Christ that I am Raphael, whom God has placed as a guardian over this city». These words appear on the dedication of the triumphal statues around the city. In 1652 it was proposed that the house where Father Roelas lived should be turned into a chapel, although this was not done until 1735. Later, around 1800, funds were raised among the people of Cordoba to enlarge the church of San Rafael of the Oath to the size we know today.
The church has a remarkably original design – a long nave combined with a circular space. Moreover, it can be said to preserve the last Neo-classical façade erected in Cordoba. Inside, the most striking features are the different paintings dedicated to the image of the Archangel produced in 1735, as well as the 18th century canvases by the Cordoban painter Antonio Acisclo Palomino.
Plaza de San Rafael
16. Church of San Pedro (St. Peter)
The parish church of San Pedro was one of the main churches founded by Ferdinand III in the Axerquía. Tradition has it that under what is now the Church of San Pedro lay the original Cathedral of Cordoba, built before the Islamic invasion of 711.
The church was built on unstable land and has undergone major reforms throughout its history. These include the new entrance built by Hernán Ruiz II, which gave the church a new appearance. As time went by, the Baptismal Chapel was added in the 17th century, Baroque vaulting covered the original Mudéjar (Moorish) and new parish buildings were added.
Two of the medieval entrances survive to this day, featuring typical elements of Cordoban Mudéjar architecture. The interior includes the Chapel of the Holy Martyrs altarpiece by Alonso Gomez de Sandoval, the altarpiece by Felix Morales and the Baptismal Chapel, where Juan de Mesa, a leading figure in Baroque sculpture in Andalusia, was baptized.
In 1575, the tombs of the first three Cordoban martyrs were found here: Saints Faustus, Januarius and Martial, who were all executed during Diocletian’s persecution – along with St. Acisclus and St. Victoria, patron saints of the city.
17. House of the Aguayo Family / Casa de los Aguayo
In a small square with the same name, near the church of San Pedro, stands this stately home. It is a beautiful building, and currently houses the College of the Holy Family, known locally as Las Francesas (The French Girls’ School). The carved entrance is early 16th century, decorated with laurel-leaf medallions and the family coat of arms, and within, there is a magnificent staircase in red and black marble and a large garden.
The Aguayo lineage originated from three brothers who fought in the Christian conquest (Reconquista) alongside King Pelayo. Diego Fernando Aguayo served under Fernando III The Saint in the conquests of Ubeda and Baeza (Jaén), Córdoba and Ecija (Sevilla), and was granted land and possessions from the King.
This house is a typical example of the stately homes scattered around the historic quarter of Cordoba, property of noble families and awarded to them by the Crown of Castile in exchange for taking part in the conquest of the territories under Islamic power.
18. Church of Santiago (St. James)
The Church of Santiago was built on the site of an ancient mosque in Calle Agustín Moreno, and was also built after the Christian conquest. At the base of the tower, there are remains of the original minaret of the mosque of the district of Sabula, which, like other districts, had its own centre of worship. Within, its clean, white forms predominate. In the various chapels and the sanctuary, especially, the most interesting works are the Baldacchino copy that Pius II ordered to be made for St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, which contains the image of St. James, dressed as a knight and carrying a pilgrim’s staff.
19. Hermitage of Los Santos Mártires (the Holy Martyrs)
On the riverside, near the district of Santiago, there is a small chapel which was built in 1880 on the grounds of the existing convent of the same name, to mark the extension of the Paseo de la Ribera main road from the Molino de Martos to Campo Madre de Dios. Tradition holds that this was the site of the martyrdom of siblings St. Acisclus and St. Victoria, patrons of Cordoba.
Inside, there is a beautiful early Christian sarcophagus made in Carrara marble, dating from around 330 AD (the era of Constantine). After having fallen into disuse for many years, it was restored and reopened
for worship in 2005 to mark the 17th anniversary of the death of the Holy Martyrs of Cordoba.
Calle Ronda de los Mártires, 15, Cordoba
20. The Fuensanta Sanctuary
Built in the late 15th century, the sanctuary lies on the outskirts of the city, next to the Guadalquivir River, in the place where, as tradition tells, the Virgin Mary appeared to a wool carder named Gonzalo Garcia, showing him a miraculous spring with healing powers.
It was from 1420 onwards when the faithful began to visit the site of the appearance and the present church was built with a shrine to protect the miraculous spring or “little well” (pocito). The original building is in Gothic-Mudéjar style but there are major later additions, mostly in Baroque and Gothic style.
Within, the building houses a statue of Our Lady of the Fuensanta and a fascinating, varied collection of votive offerings that demonstrate the historical, artistic and ethnological value of the sanctuary.
21. Church of La Magdalena (Mary Magdalene)
The Church of La Magdalena was one of the first churches to be built during the reign of Fernando III, although its exact date is unknown. It was built in the late Romanesque style which was then predominant in the Kingdom of Castile, and has undergone major transformations over the years. Examples of this are the addition of the sacristy in the 16th century or the replacement of the old tower by the present one in the 18th century.
22. Church of San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence)
This church was built around 1272, like many of the Axerquía churches, on the site of a Muslim place of worship. It was used by Christians during the first few years after the Conquest, as evidenced by the foundation inscription preserved in the Archaeological Museum and the remains of the minaret, visible in the present-day tower.
Of all the changes which have taken place in the Church of San Lorenzo, the most interesting was carried out by Hernán Ruiz the Younger, who in 1555 erected the bell tower that can be seen today. The exterior features a 15th century portico with a triple arcade, and a rose window, one of only three that have survived from the Middle Ages, made up of an interlocking pattern of pointed arches on plain-shafted columns.
23. Church of San Agustin (St. Augustine)
The original construction of the church of San Agustin dates back to 1328 and, like many churches of this time, the Baroque reforms hide the original medieval stonework. The main façade dates from the 16th and 17th centuries. The church of San Agustin was restored in 2009, and is one of the churches that best show the significance of the Baroque style in the city, so much so that it is almost a paradigm of this style. The recent reforms have restored the church to its full glory, after years of neglect and deterioration. The murals on the walls and sculptures that have been returned after the reform are both well worth seeing.
24. Church of San Andres (St. Andrew)
This building, which was finished around 1246, was of exceptional religious and strategic value from the very start, since not only was it built over the ruins of the ancient Basilica of San Zoilo, but it was also situated on one of the busiest medieval thoroughfares in Cordoba, the Via Augusta (nowadays, Calle San Pablo). Its original state was altered by the building of the presentday tower, following sketches by Hernán Ruiz II and, in the 18th century, the former medieval church became the nave of the modernday building.
25. Church of San Pablo (St. Paul)
The convent of San Pablo el Real was founded by the Castilian king Ferdinand III The Saint in the parish of San Andres, which was a sparsely populated area at the time of the Christian Conquest. It was built on an area which had always had important buildings, due to its privileged location on a stretch of the Via Augusta: first, the Roman Circus, later, an Almohad Muslim palace and finally, in Christian times, a Dominican monastery.
The grounds extended over a large area, although today they are confined practically to the area around the church. When it was founded, around the year 1240, the convent was given many donations, alms and privileges, and, above all, the Dominican fathers, who occupied it from the start, enjoyed royal protection for several centuries. This was followed by various transformations
in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the church was completely restored, under the watchful eye of Adolfo Castiñeyra and Mateo Inurria, and the striking Chapel of Cristo de la Expiración (The Expiring Christ) was completely rebuilt.
The Orive Garden occupies the former San Pablo Allotments, and here the Chapter of the primitive monastery survives, the result of an unfinished project begun by Hernán Ruiz II in the 16th century, which after the
Napoleonic invasion was used as a prison. Its restoration in 2008 turned it into a multipurpose building which provides a venue for exhibitions, lectures, concerts and presentations.
The bell tower of San Pablo was restored in 1998 and officially opened on St. Paul’s Day, June 29th, the date of the city’s conquest by the Christians. The set of bells, made by Georges and Francisque Paccard in 1900, was exhibited at the Universal Exhibition of Paris of that year, and was purchased by the Father Superior of the Convent of San Pablo for this church.
calle Capitulares 9
26. Church of Santa Marina de Aguas Santas (St. Marina of the Holy Waters)
The church of Santa Marina is one of the oldest “Fernandine” Churches. It was built in the late 13th century on the site of a 7th century Visigothic temple, and has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest and a National Historic-Artistic Monument since 1931. In the late 18th century, it was rebuilt after an earthquake affected the church in 1755. It survived a fire that left it unusable for two years, and later, in the 20th
century,underwent several reforms. The rebuilding work undertaken between 1998 and 2005 restored the church to its original appearance and, recently, the demolition of connecting buildings
has freed the church apse.
27. Church of San Cayetano (St. Cajetan) — the bullfighters’ church
The Church of San Cayetano, built around 1630, is situated on a slope with the same name (which until the middle of last century was a dirt track), perpendicular to the Avenida de las Ollerías. Its original name was Church of San Jose, whose statue is kept in a side chapel and was once highly revered.
Traditionally, it has been called the church of the bullfighters, since many of them, starting with Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez (Manolete) have had close links to the district of Santa Marina. St. Cayetano and the Our Lady of Carmen are also both venerated in the church, and, in particular, the statue of Jesús Caído (the Fallen Jesus). There is a brotherhood that takes this statue out on procession on Holy Thursday and many Cordoban bullfighters take part.
28. Cristo de los Faroles (Christ of the Lanterns)
Plaza de Capuchinos (Square of the Capuchins)
Another of the characteristic monuments of Christian Cordoba is the statue of Christ of the Lanterns, situated in the cobbled square Plaza de Capuchinos, which takes its name from the Capuchin friary of Santo Angel built there in the 17th century.
Right in the middle of the square stands the Christ of the Lanterns, a Baroque image of the crucified Christ which is illuminated at night by eight wroughtiron lanterns, lending a great sense of mystery and solemnity to the scene.
29. Church of Los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows)
The 18th century Church of Los Dolores is situated in the Plaza de Capuchinos, and is part of the San Jacinto Hospital. The austere main façade is made up of a double entrance, leading to an interior decorated with fine plasterwork.
The statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is especially revered by the people of Cordoba, as shown by the fact that this church is one of the most popular churches for weddings in the city. The statue is the work of Juan Prieto in 1719, and constitutes a magnificent example of Baroque imagery in Cordoba. Her brotherhood leads the statue out in procession on Good Friday, accompanied by more than six hundred Nazarenes and over a thousand penitents winding their way through the streets of Cordoba.
30. Church of San Miguel (St. Michael)
Among the so-called Fernandine churches, the church of San Miguel stands out as marking the transition from Romanesque to ogival Gothic styles. In later centuries, it was the object of many reforms, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. The side door on the Epistle side contains a wonderful example of a Mudéjar pointed horseshoe arch, while the left-hand entrance is in the original Gothic style.
31. Church of San Nicolas de la Villa (St. Nicholas of the Town)
After the city was conquered, Fernando III founded two parishes under the patronage of St. Nicholas, one in the Axerquía (which has not survived) and another in La Villa (the town centre). The Church of San Nicolas de la Villa retains the original Mudéjar (Moorish) flavour, despite the transformations carried out over the years, which have led to a more Baroque overall style. One of the best features is the slim polygonal tower built by Bishop Iñigo Manrique in 1496, with a belfry which was added in the 19th century.
From earliest times, many of the highest-ranking families in the city have lived in the parish of San Nicolas, including that of Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba, known as the Great Captain. In the 18th century, a crypt was built beneath the church, which is currently used as a store room, and where, curiously, Fray Ricardo de Cordoba rescued a forgotten image of Our Lady. This was later restored, and is now one of the two statues paraded by the Brotherhood of Judgement on Easter Monday under the title of Gracia y Amparo (Grace and Protection).
32. Oratory of San Felipe Neri (St. Philip of Neri)
The Oratory of San Felipe Neri forms part of the military government building, and after restoration work is finished, will soon become a centre for cultural and educational activities. The Oratory, situated in the former
palace of the Venegas de Henestrosa family, dates back to the early 18th century and has not been used as a church since the dissolution of 1836; however, it retains both its facade of pilasters and the church’s interior
structure with three naves with a transept.
33. Church of La Trinidad (Holy Trinity)
The parish of St John and All Saints, part of the former Convent of the Holy Trinity, was built in the 13th century on the site of an old mosque. However, the present building dates from 1710 and nothing remains of the previous constructions.
Little evidence exists as to what the earlier church of the Holy Trinity convent looked like, but we do know that in the 16th century the roof collapsed and could be rebuilt thanks to donations from a wealthy
family. A century later, the church was in a completely ruinous state, and so it was decided to build it again from scratch. The building work took over ten years.
34. Collegiate Church of San Hipólito (St. Hippolytus)
Just behind the Great Captain Boulevard stands the Collegiate Church of San Hipólito, founded by Alfonso XI in 1343 as a monastery in thanks for his victory at the Battle of the Salado in Cadiz. He also intended to use it as a Royal Pantheon, to house the remains of his father, King Ferdinand IV The Summoned, who was at that time buried in the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. Shortly after, it was elevated to the rank of a collegiate church by Pope Clement VI, so that services could be held here with maximum decorum, to befit the memory of the dead monarchs. Following the monarch’s wishes, the collegiate church houses the remains of the kings of Castile and Leon, Fernando IV the Summoned and his son, Alfonso XI The Justice-Giver.
35. La Malmuerta Tower
According to popular tradition, the building of the Malmuerta Watchtower, beside the Plaza de Colon, is linked to the wrongful death of a noble Cordoban lady at the hands of her jealous husband.
The tower was built between 1404 and 1408, inspired by the Seville Gate in the Alcázar Viejo district. It is attached to the city wall and inside there are several steps leading to the parapet and the only room of the building, with a vault opened to the exterior through loopholes.
After losing its role as a military building, the tower became an astronomical observatory in the 18th century, then a gunpowder store, and later, a fumigation chamber in times of plague. In the 20th century, documents on the Cordoban people who participated in Columbus’ epic voyage were displayed in the main hall.
36. The Convent of La Merced (Mercy)
The convent of La Merced is regarded by historians as the site of the former Basilica of Santa Eulalia, the famous martyr from Merida. After the conquest of Cordoba, Fernando III donated the small hermitage of Santa Eulalia to St. Pedro Nolasco, founder of the Order of Merced, to build this convent. The image of the Santísimo Cristo de la Merced (Holy Christ of Mercy) inspired great devotion among the
faithful and was taken out in procession to combat the plague epidemics of 1602 and 1650, which caused so many deaths in Cordoba. In the early 18th century, the convent was in ruins, and so rebuilding work commenced.
The explorer Christopher Columbus stayed in the convent at the time when the Catholic Kings in Cordoba were preparing to conquer the last Muslim stronghold on the peninsula, the Nazari kingdom of Granada. Columbus was able to present before several of the monarchs’ advisors his project to open a new route to India across the Atlantic Ocean. During his stay he had a son, Hernándo, by Beatriz Enriquez de Arana.
37. The Hermitage of Pretorio
This was originally an 18th century chapel connected to the walls of the Convent of La Merced. Here the faithful worshipped an ecce homo (oil painting depicting Jesus’ passion) set in the Roman Praetorium, and this painting gave its name to the whole area. Bullfighters stopped to pray here at this hermitage before arriving at the former Tejares Bullring, a site which is now occupied by a modern shopping centre on Avenida Ronda de los Tejares.
The shrine fell into ruins and by popular demand in 1870 a collection was made to rebuild it – the famous matador Rafael Molina Sanchez (Lagartijo) played an important role by organising a bullfight to raise funds.
When the railway line was moved underground as part of the “Plan RENFE”, the hermitage was moved about fifty yards from its original location on Avenida de América. Today, a plaque on the floor marks the exact place where it originally stood.
The Cercadilla archaeological site is a mine of important information about the transformation of the Roman Empire to Christianity. It became a Christian centre in honour of the martyr St. Acisclus, patron saint of Cordoba, as it was thought his remains might have been buried in the ancient palace of Maximian, once it became a centre of Christian worship. One of the most important Christian cemeteries has been found here, with as many as 150 documented tombs. One reason for its popularity was the commonly-held belief of the time that if a person was buried near a saint, they would stand a better chance of going to heaven. Through this site, historians have been able to document much of the history of the first bishops of the city.
39. Monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaiso (St. Jerome of Valparaiso)
The monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaiso dates back to the 15th century and is situated opposite the archaeological site of Medina Azahara. The monastery was founded in the early 14th century by Brother Vasco, a
Portuguese hermit. After staying in Italy, he visited Cordoba and decided to set up the Order of St. Jerome, which then had no representation in Spain.
Although its main structure is Gothic, the building has been embellished by successive Renaissance and Baroque improvements. The current owners, the Marquises of Merit, have done a great job of the restoration, which has been carried out over several generations. Many important people have stayed at the monastery and it contains an impressive art collection and various relics.
40. The Hermitages
About 15 kilometres from the city, up in the foothills of Sierra Morena, lies an area known as the Desierto de Nuestra Señora de Belén (Desert of Our Lady of Bethlehem), where the group of buildings known as the Hermitages stands. They were founded in the 18th century by Brother Francisco de Jesus, although hermits had lived in this area since the Middle Ages. The hermits finally left in 1958, when their order fell into decline and the last hermit, Juan Vicente de la Madre de Dios, died, after which the bishop donated the land to the Order of the Discalced Carmelites. The group of buildings consists of 13 cells, a small church built in 1798, a road lined with cypress trees and an esplanade with palm trees. One of the main features is the vantage point, with the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, built in 1929 by Lorenzo Valera Coullaut, looking down over the valley. From here, there are breathtaking views of Cordoba and part of the Guadalquivir plains.
HOLY WEEK AND ITS RELIGIOUS BROTHERHOODS
Although Holy Week in Cordoba is first and foremost a public manifestation of popular faith, it is also a festival which transcends the purely religious aspect and becomes, after the obligatory winter rest, a huge open-air celebration in which both local Cordobans and visitors take part with the same enthusiasm. Every year, both groups tread the city streets in a kind of Stations of the Cross marked by the different brotherhoods and guilds, who don their finest robes for these days of the Passion and reap the rewards for all those long weeks of training. Holy Week, then, involves a whole range of cultural, artistic, historical, musical and anthropological features … which combine to celebrate the mysteries of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This religious manifestation is centred around the brotherhoods, each of which has its own distinctive uniform. The guilds are composed of people from all walks of life and a wide range of ages –all of whom take part in the celebration. The route which the processions take in Holy Week in Cordoba — declared a Festivity of National Tourist Interest in Andalusia by the regional government– mainly includes the old quarter of Cordoba, some of which is a World Heritage Site. This circumstance is unique in Andalusia, and adds even greater beauty to these days, when the smell of incense and orange blossom is all-pervading.
Nowadays, a total of 37 brotherhoods go out on procession, all of which are members of the Cordoban Association of Guilds and Brotherhoods.
COUNTRY PILGRIMAGES AND POPULAR TRADITIONS
There are a great many popular traditions that mark the daily life of Cordoba throughout the year which are related to Christian culture, and which have survived to this day totally integrated into everyday life.
The May Crosses
The Festival of the Crosses is a Christian tradition which consists of setting up crosses made of flowers in the streets, around which are placed decorative objects, especially floral elements such as plant pots. It is a festival with popular origins, and the neighbours usually agree on who should provide the materials. In recent years, it has also become common practice to set up a bar and try to attract some business, whose proceeds normally go towards covering the expenses of the Holy Week brotherhoods or clubs. The City Council has held the May Crosses competition since 1953, and usually around eighty crosses from all over the city compete. The public usually visit all of them, but especially the award-winning cross.
The Town Fair (dedicated to Our Lady of Health)
The May Fair or the Fair of Our Lady of Health has recently become the tour de force of the May festivities. Its origin dates back to 1284, when King Don Sancho IV granted the privilege to the Cordoba Town Council to hold a cattle fair twice a year. The name of the fair originates from the events of May 25th, 1665, in front of the Seville Gate, when two farm workers found a small statue of the virgin in a well, whose water was said to cure any patients who drank it. To commemorate the discovery, a small chapel was built nearby, and the fair began to be celebrated on the first days of Pentecost.
In 1803, it was moved to the Puerta de Gallegos to be closer to the bullring, which was formerly in the Campo de la Merced, and in 1820 it moved to its permanent home in the Campo de la Victoria (Victoria Gardens). Today, the fair takes place in a purpose-built fairground located in El Arenal, on the outskirts of Cordoba. Over the ten days of the fair, many brotherhoods and societies set up casetas (small marquees) for friends and guests to have a good time.
Constry pilgrimages are festivities of Catholic origin consisting of a journey or pilgrimage (in decorated carts, carriages, on horseback or on foot) to the sanctuary or chapel of a There are two main pilgrimages in Cordoba: Santo
Domingo and the Virgen de Linares.
The first one has its own special song, written by composer Ramón Medina, which mentions the day it is celebrated: “Caminito de Santo Domingo te vi una mañana florida de Abril…” («On the path to Santo Domingo, I saw you one flower-filled April morning»).
Santo Domingo de Scala Coeli is a Dominican convent six kilometres from the city, and its anniversary is linked to the memory of St. Alvaro of Cordoba, who lived and died there. The sanctuary of Linares, where the other pilgrimage is held on the first Sunday in May, is situated on the outskirts of the city and is linked to the conquest of Cordoba by San Fernando. The Virgin of Linares was, according to tradition, carried by King Fernando III on his horse when he conquered Cordoba.
The feast of Corpus Christi in Cordoba is unusual in that the procession with the Blessed Sacrament happens in the afternoon, when the usual custom is for it to take place in the morning. The procession, made up of hundreds of people and representatives of a wide range of civil and church groups, is well-known for the artistic merit of the 16th century monstrance by Enrique de Arfe, a huge silver tower over two meters high which is kept in the Chapel of Cardinal Salazar in the Mosque-Cathedral.
The Virgin of “Acá” (Over Here)
The Feast of the Assumption is celebrated with special enthusiasm in Cordoba in the district of Alcázar Viejo, in whose parish the Virgin of Transit is worshipped, better known as the Virgin of Acá (The Virgin of Over Here). By late afternoon on August 15th, it is taken out in procession through the streets of the district in a festive atmosphere that awakens the city from its holiday lethargy.
The Fuensanta Street Festival
From the 5th to 8th September, a street festival takes place around the Shrine of Our Lady of the Fuensanta, patron of Cordoba. Bars as well as stalls selling nuts and sweets are set up and the atmosphere is enlivened with live performances. At this fair, it is traditional to buy little pottery bells for the children. In addition, the visitor performs two rituals: one is religious, and recalls the origin of the fair, which is to pay a visit to the Virgin inside the church that bears her name and the other is a pagan one, to catch a glimpse of the Fuensanta Alligator, a stuffed alligator brought back from America together with a whale’s rib, both of which are on display with a host of varied votive offerings from the Cordoban faithful.
Another clear example of the unceasing admiration of Cordobans for St. Raphael is the celebration, on October 24, of his saint’s day. On this local holiday, friends and family gather in various places in the Cordoba countryside to prepare a dish called the “perol cordobés” — a rice dish similar to paella which owes its name to the pan used for making it.
Christian culture is deeply rooted in Spain and covers all areas of human life, so it is no surprise that the country’s gastronomy is also deeply influenced by the essence of Christianity.
Torrijas and pestiños
Torrijas and pestiños are the most popular desserts in Holy Week. Pestiños are made of a fried dough sweetened with plenty of honey, although the exact way it is made varies from place to place. Torrijas are pieces of toast cooked in milk or wine and makes a perfect dish for these frugal days.
By far the most traditional ingredient of meals in Lent and Easter is cod, prepared in any of a number of ways. According to the rules of Lent, Christians should refrain from eating meat on all Fridays from the end of Carnival until Good Friday, and on those days, meats, sausages and cold meats are replaced by cod cooked in a variety of ways.
The stew of the vigil
Cod, chick-peas and spinach, accompanied by different vegetables, are the main ingredients of the traditional stew of the vigil. There are other timehonoured variations on the recipe, including chard, white beans and other types of fish. This stew was traditionally cooked both at Easter time and for a vigil, when the faithful gathered to pray and then ate this dish together.
Convent-made pastries have always been closely linked to Cordoba. Cloistered nuns, such as the Poor Clares, still make in the traditional way cakes such as egg-yolks, almond doughnuts, alfajores and marzipans to sell to the faithful. Many of these convents rely on the expertise of their pastry cooks to make a living and maintain their buildings. The nuns employ such loving care in making these cakes that this work takes up most of their day, especially at Easter or Christmas.
Saint’s Bones are the curious name given to the long, white, cylindrical marzipan cakes (like a bone), which were originally filled with sweet egg yolk. In Cordoba, they are a much-loved delicacy on All Saints Day, along with buñuelos (fritters) and gachas (porridge). Popular legend has it that it was a Benedictine monk who started the tradition of Saint’s Bones as a way of making citizens forget the pagan festival of the Celts, which at that time was held on the first day of the year. The shape and the name of the cake serve as a reminder that this is the day when the dead return to the earth and that we must honour them, even if we do it by trying these sweet almond cakes.
ILLUSTRIOUS CORDOBAN PERSONALITIES
1 St. Acisclus and St. Victoria
St. Acisclus was, at 303 AD, the first martyr in the history of Cordoba, together with his sister, Victoria. Both are patron saints of the city, along with the Virgin of Fuensanta.
The siblings were martyred in the first persecution that affected Cordoba, under the rule of Emperor Septimius Severus and his praetor Dion, who passed a decree ordering all followers of Christ to be killed.
St. Acisclus was beheaded on the banks of the river, while St. Victoria was shot with arrows in the Roman amphitheatre. According to the tradition, Minciana, a Roman citizen, picked up the body of Victoria and took it to the place her brother had been martyred, where, afterwards, a basilica was built in their honour.
2 Bishop Hosius
Bishop Hosius was one of the most emblematic figures of the early Spanish Church, for his close connections with the emperor. He was advisor to Constantine in religious matters, acted as his delegate in ecclesiastical affairs and was his right-hand man. He chaired the Council of Nicaea (325 AD), which had been convened to counter Arius’ heresy, taking part in the preparation of its statutes, and in particular that of the Creed, the symbol of Catholic faith, which defined the divinity of Christ. Back in Cordoba and until his death in 358, he led a quiet life, away from the bustle of the Eastern Church.
3 St. Eulogius
St. Eulogius was born in 800 and died in 859. He has been described by historians as the last Hispano-Roman of Baetica. He was born into a family of senatorial rank and received his early education in the priests’ school of the Basilica of San Zoilo, located in the former district of Tiraceros, near the modern district of San Andrés, and later joined the school run by Speraindeo the Abbot.
4 St. Alvaro
St. Alvaro preached in Spain and Italy and ended up, at the express request of Catherine of Lancaster, as guardian to Prince Juan. Alvaro was commissioned to be Prior of the new monastery of Scala Coeli, but he chose
to turn down the offer and devote all his time, up until his death in 1430, to developing his spirituality.
5 Bishop Iñigo Manrique
Iñigo Manrique was bishop of Cordoba between 1485 and 1496. After Isabel la Católica refused to allow the demolition of part of the Mosque to build a cathedral, he obtained permission in 1489 to remove the columns of the Mosque in five sections (from the Chapel of Villaviciosa to the western wall) and build side walls to form a Gothic nave, which was the first step towards building the Cathedral in the unique Muslim Mosque.
6 Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the Great Captain
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba was born in Montilla in 1453 and died in 1515. He bore the name of Cordoba with honour through all the different countries where his busy military life led him. He left Cordoba at an early
age to serve different masters in the military arts, and at once he drew everyone’s attention for the elegance in his manner and his wit and ingenuity. Commanding a company of 120 horsemen belonging to his brother, Don Alonso, he made his debut in the War of Succession and later in the conquest of the kingdom of Granada, where he stood out for his stunning achievements. After his military campaigns in Italy, he was given the name Great Captain by both the Catholic Monarchs and his own soldiers because of his outstanding feats of arms.
7 Father Roelas
Andrés de las Roelas was known as Father Roelas. As Teodomiro Ramírez de Arellano records in his work Walks around Cordoba, when the plague ravaged the city in the 16th century, the archangel St. Raphael appeared to Father Roelas on four occasions telling him that he would save him. The priest, fearing that his senses had played tricks on him, consulted theologians of the Society of Jesus on the matter and then visited his Superior, who instructed him, if the archangel appeared for a fifth time, to ask him who he was. That is exactly what happened and the apparition said that he was the angel Raphael whom God had entrusted to safeguard the city. Soon people stopped dying from the plague in Cordoba.
8 Ambrosio de Morales
Ambrosio de Morales was born in Cordoba in 1513 and died in 1591. He studied grammar in Cordoba, Alcala de Henares and later in Salamanca with his uncle Fernán Pérez de Oliva. He was appointed royal chronicler by
Philip II in 1566 and made great efforts to rescue from oblivion the writings of Mozarabs from Cordoba. He was also noted for his works such as The General Chronicle of Spain or The Antiquities of the Cities of Spain, both of immense documentary value. In his works, he strove to dignify the Spanish language, which he considered the most suitable means with which to present history.
9 Luis de Góngora y Argote
Luis de Góngora y Argote was born in Cordoba on July 11th, 1561 and died in 1627. He lived through the years of the European reformation and counter reformation. He completed his first studies in Cordoba and, after graduating in Theology, was ordained as a deacon. In 1616, recently ordained as a priest, he travelled to Madrid to take up the job of royal chaplain. As a writer, he is considered one of the greatest poets of the Spanish Golden Age. What makes him great is the versatility of his work, whether writing a sonnet, a verse, a romance or a poem. Tired of Madrid, he returned to his home town, where he devoted his time to compiling a collection of his poems for publication. His work has been preserved through the collection made by Don Antonio Chacón, Lord of Polvoranca, at the request of Conde Duque de Olivares. His tomb is situated inside the Mosque-Cathedral.
10 Juan de Mesa
Juan de Mesa was born in Cordoba in 1583 and died in Seville in 1627. At the age of 23, he became an apprentice in the Sevillian workshop of Juan Martínez Montañés, where he learned drawing, modelling, sculpture and composition. His works were well suited to the ascetic mood of the Counter-reformation, bringing sacred images out of the churches to educate the populace. The artist immersed himself in dramatic realism, observed nature either alive or dead, and studied the human corpse. As a result, he achieved in his work a thoroughly realistic portrayal of dead and dying subjects with exact anatomical precision, making some of his paintings, such as La Virgen de las Angustias (Our Lady of Sorrows), unique works.
11 Friar Albino
Friar Albino González Menéndez-Reigada was born in Asturias and was bishop of Cordoba from 1946 to 1958. One of his main achievements was being the driving force behind the creation of the Benevolent Association of the Holy Family, which built new housing for the poor in the slums of Fray Albino and Cañero. He also encouraged the creation of schools and professional training workshops for the homeless, under the charitablepatronage of Our Lady of Fuensanta and St. Eulogius. He died in 1959.
12 Agustín Molina Ruiz, Padre Ladrillo (“Father Brick”)
For 40 years, Agustín Molina Ruiz was the parish priest of Santa Victoria, in the Barrio del Naranjo district, where he left a lasting impression until his death in 1995. Around 1964, his nickname of “Father Brick” was first coined, as he funded the building of a nursery, kindergarten, schools, social care facilities and a clinic in his parish as part of a campaign known as Operation Brick. In order to raise funds for this charity, he organized bullfighting festivals and other events such as raffles, football games and dinners, at which the public responded generously with financial contributions and personal support.
DIRECTORIO / DIRECTORY
Ayuntamiento de Córdoba
- C/ Capitulares, s/n 14071 Córdoba
- Tel: 957 49 99 00 — www.ayuncordoba.es
Delegación de Patrimonio, Casco Histórico y Naturaleza
- Plaza de Orive, 2. 14071 Córdoba
- Tel.: 957 49 75 92
- Visitas guiadas
- Paseos por Córdoba
- Tel.: 902 201 774
MUSEOS Y MONUMENTOS / MUSEUM & MONUMENTS
Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba
- C/ Cardenal Herrero, 1
- Tel.: 957 47 05 12
- Lunes – Sábado 08:30-18:00
- Domingos y Festivos 08:30-10:15 y 14:00-18:00
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
- Campo Santo de los Mártires, s/n
- Martes-Sábado 10:00 – 14:00 / 16:30 – 18:30
- Domingos 09:30 – 14:30
Palacio de Maximiano Hercúleo
- (Yacimiento Arqueológico de Cercadilla)
- Avda Vía Augusta s/n
- Tel.: 957 47 90 91
- Miércoles-Domingo 10:00 – 14:00
- Grupos 697 95 44 45
Museo Arqueológico y Etnológico De Córdoba
- Plaza de Jerónimo Páez, 7
- Tel.: 957 47 10 76
- Martes 15:00-20:00
- De miércoles a sábado 09:00-20:00
- Domingos 09:00-15:00